V/A â€“ Putumayo Presents A New Groove / 2007 Putumayo / 10 Tracks / http://www.putumayo.com /
Putumayo had a solid album on their hands with â€œGypsy Grooveâ€. That album was memorable because it blended together the traditional east European sound with a more current dance sound. This time, Putumayo seems to come out with a more normal type of dance mix. Normal is an ill-fitting word here, as the first track is Denmarkâ€™s Emo, with their â€œIn the Back of the Carâ€. This track blends more chill and vibrant tracks to make something that breaks free of many of the constraints detractors of the genre are apt to place on dance music.
There are a number of better-known musicians present on this disc, with Bitter:Sweet, K-Os, and Thievery Corporation all throwing their hats into â€œA New Grooveâ€. Bitter:Sweet comes up with their â€œDirty Laundryâ€™, which blends what sounds to be a track from a sixties Bond movie with a little trip hop and a Gwen Stafni type of vocals. The resulting track is catchy and hooky, and while it does not match up with what is popular in dance music, the band succeeds. There seems to be a thread drawn between a few of the discâ€™s tracks, as Gabriel Riosâ€™ â€œUnrockâ€ shows the same older style blended with a sultry set of female vocals. â€œUnrockâ€ has a slower style than â€œDirty Laundryâ€, but there are enough things in common between the two tracks to make the album that much stronger during the runtime of these two songs. The slight amount of reggae that is present during â€œUnrockâ€ is continued in a faster style with The Cat Empireâ€™s â€œThe Lost Songâ€. Despite the fact that Rios comes from Puerto Rico and The Cat Empire come from Australia, there is another example of unity between the tracks on the disc.
The inclusion of expressive drums distinguish the track from others, and the sweet vocals present seal the song as one of the stronger present on this album. Alice Russell breaks free of the overall sound of the disc (or at least, the sound delivered by the artist immediately preceding eir) with â€œHigh Up on the Hookâ€. The track breaks the six minute mark, but Russellâ€™s catchy vocals and the blending of old and new with the instrumentation makes this a solid track in its own right. Putumayo is a record label that can deliver when it comes to expansive and different sounding dance albums. Check out â€œA New Grooveâ€ if you have anything in your heart for dance.
Top Tracks: The Cat Empire / The Lost Song, Jehro / Everything